An Entryway Into High Value Produce Markets
Drip irrigation provides farmers the most efficient way to grow crops in water scarce areas, but historically has been too expensive for small-plot farmers. After first approaching manufacturers of commercial drip irrigation systems, iDE developed its own design for small farmers. Our designers lowered the cost of drip systems by replacing conventional emitters with holes and micro tubes, shifting water distribution lines extending to crops, and customizing system layouts for small plots. Development of a hanging plastic water storage bag further lowered the cost to about $5 for a household garden kit covering 20 square meters (215 square feet). In fact, any plot under .4 hectare (one acre) can benefit from these systems, but their modular design allows for expansion above that. They provide water savings of 30 - 70 percent, greatly reduce labor, and accurately deliver fertilizers. This makes cultivation during the dry season possible, with resulting yield increases of up to 30 percent.
iDE promotes drip irrigation throughout the developing world. Our drip systems have helped people with HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe to improve their nutrition by growing vegetables, as well as coffee-growing families in Nicaragua by reducing the flowering time of plants from three years to one and a half years.
Read More About Drip Irrigation
The following materials on drip irrigation were produced by iDE as part of CGIAR's Challenge Program on Water and Food:
Simple Drip Irrigation Album (PDF, 1 MB) features photos of drip system components and installations in Nepal.
Technical Manual for IDEal Micro Irrigation Systems (PDF 11.4 MB) features comprehensive parts lists and instructions for assembling low-cost drip irrigation systems.